TikTok | @doctor_jenaynay

Doctor Reveals How People Without Health Insurance Can Lower Their Medical Bills

Dan

Medical bills can be a terrifying thing to those who don't have health insurance. After all, a hospital stay can easily rack up tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in charges.

A doctor — and patient advocate — has gone viral for her efforts to help people understand and lower these medical bills.

Dr. Jenaya Calderilla has a few tips.

Instagram | @doctor_jenaynay

Dr. Calderilla offers her patient advocacy tips on her personal Instagram page and TikTok. She's worked in various medical settings, and her Insta profile makes clear that she's a patient advocate.

A three-part TikTok series recently offered invaluable advice to people worried about their medical bills.

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She offered some great advice for anyone struggling with a big medical bill.

TikTok | @doctor_jenaynay

In a three-part TikTok series (watch the first part here), Dr. Calderilla gives her advice for anyone who's gotten a big hospital bill.

While the thought of challenging these charges might be daunting, it's entirely possible — and Calderilla gives some great tips on how it can be done.

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Keep calm and make those calls.

TikTok | @doctor_jenaynay

A great place to start, Calderilla says, is to ask for an itemized bill. Rather than presenting a big, scary number with little explanation, an itemized bill should help patients understand exactly what they're being charged for, and how much each of those charges is.

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The itemized bill should help narrow things down.

TikTok | @doctor_jenaynay

Right off the bat, patients might see a charge on the bill that doesn't make sense. Dr. Calderilla also points out that the charges on the itemized bill will actually be less than the charges on the original bill.

Even if the charges are still high, there are options to get the bill lowered.

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From here, it's about communication.

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Once the bill is disputed, there are two basic outcomes: the person you're talking to will be receptive and help you explore your options, or they'll be totally unhelpful.

If the former option comes to pass, that's great! But if it's the latter option, there's a little more legwork ahead.

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It's time to tap into your inner Karen.

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In the second video of her three-part series, Dr. Calderilla advises patients to "channel their inner Karen" when it comes to talking with the hospital billing department.

Knowledge is power, and patients can harness the data on fairhealthconsumer.org to find out what different medical codes mean, and whether the charges are fair for their area.

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Learn the magic words.

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No, not 'please' and 'thank you' (although those are never a bad idea).

Dr. Calderilla says if the charges are accurate, but more expensive than it appears they should be, patients should ask the hospital to lower them to the "reasonable and customary" price. She notes that it's important to use these specific words.

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Results not guaranteed (although this advice should help).

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While Dr. Calderilla's advice gives great guidance on what uninsured patients in the United States can expect when it comes to hospital bills, there's no one-size-fits-all approach.

That said, her three-video series gives an excellent crash course on the topic, and gives patients the tools to advocate for themselves.

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The series is worth a watch.

TikTok | @doctor_jenaynay

If you're insured, that's great. But if you're one of the millions of Americans who's uninsured, Dr. Calderilla's advice could be a game-changer.

Make sure to check out part one, part two and part three, along with Dr. Calderilla's TikTok.

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